|PockBot no longer works however you can use a clone of PockBot known as Chris G Bot 2|
Has PockBot vandalised a page?
Vandalism may occur either unintentionally (if the bot does something unexpected) or intentionally. Please note that although PockBot is developed by User:PocklingtonDan it may be operated (run) by any wikipedia user and therefore any intentional vandalism using the bot will probably not be the fault of either PockBot or User:PocklingtonDan but some other user. PockBot now logs the IP address of the user running the bot and adds this to the edit summary of the article.
Who or what is PockBot?
PockBot is a wikipedia bot, an account on wikipedia that does not represent the editing activities of a human at a computer keyboard, but semi-automatic edits carried out by a script (a small computer program). PockBot is developed by User:PocklingtonDan but may be run by any wikipedia user.
It is not a sock puppet, but rather an automated or semi-automated account for making repetitive edits that would be extremely tedious to do manually.
What PockBot does
PockBot is a wikipedia bot. It acts as a web spider. The purpose of PockBot is to produce for a given wikipedia category, a table listing all articles within that category (and all subcategories of that category), as well as the status of those articles. This is of use for editors in monitoring new stub articles within their categories and bringing them swiftly up to full article status, as well as providing visitors to the category with a "todo" list of articles needing work.
Given a wikipedia category page to start from, it finds all articles listed in that category as well as all subcategories of that category. For every subcategory it pulls a list of articles. For all articles retrieved (a list of all articles in that category and its subcategories) it then retrieves the CLASS flag for each page from wikipedia. It then presents these results in tabulated form.
Aren't web spiders frowned upon by wikipedia for server load?
See my discussion on this issue for why PockBot acts as a web spider.
PockBot was written initially to allow me to monitor the status of all articles within the category of Military of ancient Rome, so that I could see how many stubs there were that needed expanding, how many feature articles there were, etc.
It is intended that this script would be useful to those trying to monitor all pages within a category for purposes of administration or for a project in order to monitor which articles need bringing up from stub or start class to full article status.
An example of the bots tabular output is as below:
You can see an example of a full real-world PockBot output at the following example:
A full list of PockBot's contributions to date can be found at Special:Contributions/PockBot.
PockBot is currently at version 1.06. PockBot is currently Released and Active.
All initial development goals have been met and the bot is now approved for use.
Request for Approval
You can read comments on the bot's request for approval page.
Any user can run PockBot (or disable it from running in future if it runs amok!) using the controls below:
(please note that due to bizarre wikipedia policy, I am not permitted to make the images link to the expected actions directly - you have to click on the accompanying text. This is counter-intuitive and contrary to user expectations and as such represents bad user interface design. )
When you click on Run PockBot you will need to enter the name of a wikipedia category. That is all you need to do, PockBot will take care of the rest. You will need to make absolutely certain of your spelling - it is probably best to copy and paste in the name directly from the wikipedia category page.
The bot is maintained by User:PocklingtonDan. Any questions on its operation should be addressed to him.
The bot is written in Perl and hosted remotely. If it proves popular might try and find out eventually about getting it moved to the wikipedia toolserver.
The source code for PockBot is located at User:PockBot/SourceCode. The source code is presented for two reasons:
- So that editors with greater experience of Perl and wikipedia may suggest code improvements
- So that editors who might wish to run PockBot as a clone (ie mirror PockBot on their own servers) are able to do so (possibly for a foreign-language version - PockBot only works on English Wikipedia).
I grant permission for the distribution and modification of PockBot code for the purposes of editing wikipedia. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and comments for improvement on the code.